Forty percent of the police officers in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in northern Mexico, are obese and at least 80 percent are overweight, prompting officials to put them on diets.

The city's health department and police department have started a program to help officers lose weight and fight obesity, with all members of the law enforcement agency, from the police chief to cadets at the police academy, included, officials said.

Officers are given a medical examination, provided with the results and put on a diet, and they must exercise, police spokesman Adrian Sanchez told Efe.

"After the exams are done and depending on the results, they will be given an exercise routine and a diet that they must follow," the police spokesman said.

Six of the 1,800 active-duty officers employed by the department suffer from morbid obesity, which can kill, Ciudad Juarez health department chief Dr. Ariel Diaz de Leon said.

Even though the program is mandatory, the officer who sheds the most pounds will get a prize of 15,000 pesos (about $1,200), officials said.

Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, had the dubious distinction for many years of being Mexico's murder capital. EFE